Orality and Writing in Dickens and Neo -Victorian Fiction

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(1)Doctoral Dissertation. Orality and Writing in Dickens and Neo -Victorian Fiction. Yui NAKATSUMA. Graduate School of Humanities and Sciences Tokyo Woman’s Christian Universit y.

(2) Doctoral Dissertation. Orality and Writing in Dickens and Neo -Victorian Fiction. ディケンズとネオ・ヴィクトリア小説における オラリティとライティング. April 25, 2013. Yui NAKATSUMA. Graduate School of Humanities and Sciences Tokyo Woman’s Christian Universit y.

(3) Table of Contents. Introduction. 1. Chapter 1. Victorian Oral Culture and Writing in the Novels of Cha rles. 22. Dickens 1-1: The Domination of Literac y in the Nineteenth Century. 23. 1-2: Reciprocal Communication and Nostalgia for Old England. 34. in Orality 1-3: The Physical Act of Writing. 50. Chapter 2. The Neo-Victorian Novel Inspired by Charles Dicke ns (I):. 57. Writing a New Story 2-1: Writing Voices: The Mutual Friend (1978). 58. 2-2: Be yond the “faded blue -gre y” Worlds of the Victorian and. 71. Twentieth-Century Miss Ha visham s: Estella: Her Expectations (1982). Chapter 3. The Neo-Victorian Novel In spired by Charles Dickens (II): Voices from Be yond the Sea. 84.

(4) 3-1: Illusion of an Australian Voice in England: Jack Maggs. 86. (1997) 3-2: Oral Culture of Papua New Guinea and Great Expectations: 101 Mister Pip (2007). Chapter 4. The Neo-Victorian Novel with a Victorian Background:. 117. The Regeneration of Orality and Oral Culture 4-1: Twentieth-Century Theories in Neo -Victorianism. 117. 4-2: The World Haunted by Book s. 122. 4-3: Ballads in the Victorian Era and Misfortune. 130. 4-4: The Regeneration of Orality a nd Oral Culture. 137. Conclusion. 145. Notes. 156. Works Cited. 166.

(5) 1. Introduction. The illustration of Queen Victoria and her daughter at home, “A Glimpse of the Queen’s Home Life ” ( Fi g.1) in Illustrated London News , published on 26 January, 1901, four da ys after her death, epitomises a t ypical reading scene of a Victoria n family; a member reads something aloud for the others . Here a daughter reads a newspaper aloud for her mother; the picture is a legacy of t he Victorian “respectable” family, of which the Queen dedicated herself to create the image through newspapers and magazines during her reign. As the papers piled on the table on the right side of the Queen show, there were a lot of written and printed materials in a Victorian home: letters, diaries, cheap pamphlets, books for entertainment, scientific and academic treatises, various kinds of magazines and newspapers. Yet, in the symbolical picture of the Queen, published just after her death, what is striking is that she listens to what the pr incess reads aloud for her. Li stening to someone’s reading around the hearth symbolises a happy circle of a family among all the Victorian people ranging from the Queen to the common people. Reading aloud and listening to a reading voice were deeply rooted in the Victorian culture.. Orality, Literacy and Writing Reading aloud is a practice in oral culture and the utterance of.

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(7) 2. words by a performer can be defined as orality. Walter Ong suggests t hat there is a fundamental difference between ora l and written words. In Orality and Literacy he observes how, from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century, the culture based on oral words (orality) shifted to a culture formed by the development of the technology of writing and the importance of the ability to read and write (literacy). What make the written words distinguished from the sound are the faculties by which the body perceives them. The former is received by sight and the latter by hearing: “Whereas sight situates the observer outside what he views, at a distance, sound pours into the hearer” (Ong 71). Sound penetrates deepl y into a person’s consciousness, the inside of his/her body, through hearing it. Because in its physical constitution as sound, the spoken word proceeds from the human inte rior and manifests human beings to one another as conscious interiors, as persons, the spoken word forms human beings into close -knit groups.” (Ong 74) Sound is conve yed from an individual to the other through a voice, creating at the same time a community among people. The significance of the community in a pre -literate culture can be seen in oral transmission made through storytelling and vocalized narratives and in a direct relationship between performers or storytellers and listeners. Adam Fox, studyin g popular verses in the earl y se venteenth century, sugge sts that, when reading a printed text aloud is shared by individuals in a community to conve y information and entertainment, it offers the site of “an interaction between text and readers or hearers o f a.

(8) 3. kind which is not often retrievable at this social level” (127). Before silent and individual reading of the printed text became common practice, oral reading connected all villagers , including literate readers and illiterate listeners in a common sphe re, the public space. This situation of verse reading is fundamentally refl ected in the scene where Queen Victoria’s daughter reads a newspaper aloud to the mother. On the other hand, the written word (literacy) is fixed on the human sight which perceives the surface of a thing (Ong 71). Because of this “tyrannical” characteristic, it is “a particularly pre -emptive and imperialist activit y that tends to assimilate other things to itself” (Ong 12). Written words have a feature that they absorb and integrate a minor culture into a wider society or culture. This assumption is significant for the discussion of neo -Victorian fiction because the composition of these works depends on the denial of making an aspect of a thing fixed. The y attempt to represent the difference between the present and the Victorian past which have been fixed in printed texts, blurring the boundary. The dissertation will examine how the boundary of the past, fixed text is blurred in neo -Victorian fiction although , paradoxically, the author s present this blurring in printed texts. The year 1837, when the Queen was crowned, can be marked as a ke y point in the history of literacy. The historical processes in the literary industry are reflected on Oliver Twist as we will be discussed in the fir st chapter. Before the publication of the novel, The Pickwick Papers had the impact on the Victorian literary sc ene due to its serial publication (Shillingsburg 32) and promoted “the emergence of ‘cheap literature’.

(9) 4. industry” (Brantlinger 12). Patrick Brant linger observes that an increasing number of cheap literature brought heated arguments over its legitimacy among middle -class people. According to him, they were proud of their respectable taste in literature, but “by the 1840s and 1850s, successful middle -class novelists were enjoying enormous popularity and profits” (12-13). They incorporated in their works the elements of popular literature such as criminal stories published in newspapers and magazines. The tendency led to the superiority and rise of lit eracy in the Victorian period. Whereas Ong makes a division between orality and literacy when he discusses the chronological shift of cultures, the dissertation attempts to discuss another aspect of language : the physical act of writing. The problematic of the physical act of writing has been examined by Roland Barthes. In “The Death of the Author,” Barthes has affirmed the difference between the ages in which the Author lived and “the modern scripter” is living. Whereas it is thought that the Author and a text stand in a relation of “a before and an after,” a modern text “is eternally written here and now” (145). Writing designates exactly what linguists . . . call a performative, a rare verbal form . . . in which the enunciation has no other content . . . than the act by which it is uttered something like the I declare of kings or the I sing of very ancient poets (146). Since a person who writes and what s/he writes are separated, a text becomes “a tissue of signs” (Barthes 315). Then, the reader has no lon ge r a relation with the book’s history so that one “holds together . . . all the.

(10) 5. traces by which the written text is constituted” (Barthes 316). For bot h a reader and a writer, “the written text” and “writing” are divided as Barthes states in his earlier p aper. 1 According to Susan Sontag, Bart hes considers writing as a verb . The physical act of writing, then, is a practice of freedom: “excessive, playful, intricate, subtle, sensuous” ( Sontag 75). In Empire of Signs, 2 he states that writing “creates an emptiness of language which constitutes writing” (4). For him, the emptiness, nothingness, is a si gnificant key word, with which he finds a desirable space. Many examples, which he observes in his empire, conform to the very act of writing because they create the meaningless, therefore enjoyable spaces. 3. Jürgen Pieters. discusses Barthes’s last stage, tracing his notions of writing: the act of writing finally turns towards “[bre aking] loose from himself” in his last stage of life (125). “[T]o write is to embar k upon a process of what I would call a metempsychosis that does not involve soul . . . but it is a process that involves a transfer of energy that Barthes would label linguistic . . . .” (Pieters 125). For Barthes, writing does not produce any meaning but an act of transferring energy. Both oralit y and the physic al act of writing connect a performer with receivers. These communications based on voices and writing are close to each other in this regard. Oral culture has ceased to have impact on society in Europe including England by the mid -twentieth century. However, the scholarl y debate of traditional oral culture in primitive cultures has continued. Particularly, the leading anthropologist, Claude Lé vi -Strauss, has attempted to compare the primitive count ries in the heart of Brazil with.

(11) 6. the academic world of Europe and has admired the natural way of livi ng in those countries. For instance, in the chapter entitled “A Writing Le sson” in Tristes Tropiques (1955), he visited a village, Nambikwara, where oral c ulture is dominant, and attempted to introduce pens into the primitive village. He found that the technology of writing gave authority and prestige to an individual, the chief (296 -98). On the other hand, in Nambikwara, maintaining its oral culture, they “ [relied] . . . on the generosit y of the other side” when they constructed any relationship with others (302-03). In oral culture, the villagers “know about writing, and make use of it . . . but they do so from the outside, as if it were a foreign mediatory a gent that they communicate with by oral methods” (Lé vi -Strauss 298). So it can be concluded that one of the characteristics of orality and literacy is that the former is rooted in the inside of a group or an individual and the latter is brought from the outside. For him, the European technology of writing is a procedure that intrudes upon the community domi nated by oral culture. On the other hand, the major benefit of literacy lies in the fact that we can develop a consciousness of a spatial expanse and crossing of the boundaries of different times. In the novels which the dissertation will discuss, there are spaces and moments in which we go across geological and temporal boundaries and cross cultures of orality and literacy. We will explore how this notion of crossing borders is reflected in each neo -Victorian novelist’s representation of orality and writing.. Neo-Victorian Fiction.

(12) 7. Today neo -Victorian fiction is so flourishing that it can be considered as a sub -genre of English literature. A lot of nove ls in the genre have been published since the late 1960s and are now popular both in bookstores and literary studies. The most notable neo -Victorian text, A. S. Byatt’s Possession: A Romance , won The Man Booker Prize in 1990. Before it, Peter Carey was awa rded the prize with Oscar and Lucinda in 1988. These achievements have led to the growth of subsequent works: Carey’s Jack Maggs (1997), Charles Palliser ’s The Quincunx (1989), Michele Roberts’s In the Red Kitchen (1990), Sarah Waters’ three Neo-Victorian novels, Tipping the Velvet (1998), Affinity (1999) and Fingersmith (2002), and Wesley Stace’s Misfortune (2005). Neo-Victorianism occupies a prominent position in English literature. In this section, the academic history of neo -Victorian studies will be outlined. The present flourishing of the genre can be traced back to the beginning of Victorian studies. Aft er the Queen’s death, Victorianism quickly became something very distant, one to be looked back on by academic scholars. Lytton Strache y, for instanc e, regarded the Victorians as strangers; the y have to be retrieved from “far depths” in Eminent Victorians (1918). From the early t wentieth century onwards, the Victorians became more and more estranged as if they had lived in a sphere far removed from the modern world. Then, the 1960s saw the changes in the field of Victorian studies brought about by such works as Ra ymond Williams’s Culture and Society (1958) and Steven Marcus’s The Other Victorians (1966). The complexi t y.

(13) 8. and variety of Victorian culture, including popular culture such as Penny Dreadfuls and broadside ballads on the street, have come to form the image of the age still in use toda y. In the same decade, a new genre of literature came into being: neo -Victorian fiction. A new trend came into b eing in the 1960s when scholars began exposing little known aspects behind the established image of the past. It led to the production of “revisionary” fiction set in the Victorian era. The word “revision” was first employe d by Adrienne Rich in her paper o f 1971 from the feminist point of view: it was defined as “the act of looking back of seeing with fresh eyes, entering an old text from a new critical direction” (90). This assumption enabled the modern writers to revisit the past narrative. In the long history of mankind, it is onl y recently that a self-conscious attitude towards the past has emerged. According to David Lowenthal, “the past is a foreign country” for us after the late eighteenth century. Nostalgic emotion has been commercially exploited, s o heritage s have attracted a lot of people. However, what he emphasises is that “we cannot help but view and celebrate [the past] through present -da y lenses” (xvi). For him, the act of revising and narrating the past is to “create a new past” (209). The pr oduction of neo -Victorian fiction shares this notion. The project of neo -Victorian fiction is integrated into that of intertextuality. 4. The term intertextuality was introduced to its study. under the influence of Julia Kristeva. In “The Bounded Text” (1969 ), she refers to intertextuality as “a permutation of texts” (37). Approaching.

(14) 9. some historiographic metafictions, whose formation of narrative highly conforms to that of the neo -Victorian, Linda Hutcheon attempts to explain the postmodern textual problem o f intertextuality: “Postmodern intertextuality is a formal manifestation of both a desire to close the gap between past and present of the reader and a desire to rewrite the past in a new context” (118). John Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman , published in 1969, created a textual space in an imaginative wa y. The representation of the woods of Ware Commons above the Undercliff, “ the mile-long slope caused by the erosion of the ancient vertical cliff -face,” epitomises the textual space (71). In the Undercliff, strata bearing fossils are deposited. The cliff symbolizes the Victorian discoveries about the theory of e volution in Darwinian terms and the sense of betrayal of the belief in the order established by the God. 5. Lyme Re gis, t he town under. the forest, is represented as “ a picturesque congeries of some dozen or so houses and a small boatyard” (10), where different elements from the past texts are jumbled together. Ware Commons is more mysterious than the town. It is a place where the Victorian past, i n which Charles lives, is mixed with the present, from which Sarah, or at least her personalit y, seems to have travelled back in time. After Fowles’s work, the number of novels categorised as neo-Victorian fiction has increased. In 1997, Dana Shiller ident ified the neo-Victorian novel as “a subset of the historical novel” in “The Redemptive Past in the Neo -Victorian Novel” (538). She discusses how the representation of the past in the neo -Victorian novel has effects on us and how we can peer into the past f rom a distance away (552). One of her.

(15) 10. purposes in her argument is to “disrupt and complicate” Frederick Jameson’s criticism of pos tmodern novels as pastiche (558 ). In Postmodernism, describing these novels as “the random cannibalization of all the styles o f the past” (18), he criticises them because the postmodern scepticism about actually knowing the past makes the artists reconstruct and reshape the reality in the past as they think fit. According to him, the works of historical pastiche are made by “the insensible colonization of the present by the nostalgia mode” (20). The nostalgia about the past is an important aspect in studying neo-Victorian fiction. According to Christian Gutleben (2001), these novels are merely nostalgic pastiche or parody, which copy and reproduce Victorian texts. Although the motive of postmodernists is to overturn the canonical tradition, Gutleben states that such novels are written in a conservative wa y. As he blames them, they are just trying to return to the past in the moder n text: “the paradoxical form of wistful revisionism eventually leads to an aesthetic and ideological deadlock” (10). The connection of the Victorian past with the present is, however, not so simple as just allowing nostalgia in neo -Victorian fiction. Shiller suggest s that these novels are giving new interpretations to and enriching the present based on the past, discussing Byatt’s Possession and Peter Ac kroyd’s Chatterton. These neo-Victorian works can be considered as the very centre in the postmodern aca demic arguments over writing history. Suzy Anger also asserts the “positive accounts of knowledge” of the past (10) in her discussion of neo -Victorian novels. Following Shiller and Anger, the dissertation will suggest that these.

(16) 11. authors attempt to find som ething new and fresh beyond the phenomena that the established accounts of history have absorbed and integrated the minor ones into them and have ignored them. Two academic collections of papers, Rethinking Victorian Culture and Rereading Victorian Fictio n, published in 2000, attempted to look at the Victorian culture from a fresh point of view and to reconsider the stereotypical studies and views of the period. During the twentieth century, some prevailing Victorian images were established: anti-Victorianism by modernists after the death of the Queen which continued until around the 1930s (M Taylor, 6) and a diligent and hard-working image promulgated by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s (Joyce 3). The y emphasise that the significance of the Victorian period lies in the changes in culture: the era begun with the advent of popular culture and then accepted the dyna mic power of mass culture. Literature, which had been given privilege by official, public or high cultures, permeated among ordinary people, formed a part from popular culture in the reign of Queen Victoria. These scholars including Ta ylor and Joyc e endeavour to construct an image that diverge s from these stereotypes by digging up the Victorian past. In 2006, Peter Widdowson named the act performed by these novels as “writing back” to canonical texts from the English tradition. These texts show “a challenge to any writing that purports to be ‘telling things as they really are’” (Widdowson 491 -501). Cora Kaplan called them a part of Victoriana in 2007: Today ‘Victoriana’ might usefully embrace the whole.

(17) 12. phenomenon, the astonishing range of representations and reproductions for which the Victorian – whether as the origin of late twentieth century modernity, its antithesis, or both at once – is the common referent. (3) Kaplan, who deals with the fictions of the 1960s and the 1970s, argues that Victoriana “override[s] both modernism’s critique of the hollowness of that purpose and postmodernism’s default cynicism” (95). The genre of neo-Victorianism is one o f the literary movements that are to open a future after the age of postmodernism. In 2008, a journal specialising in this area, Neo-Victorian Studies, was inaugurated. The “Introduction” of the journal states that “over the last two decades, the producti on of neo-Victorian artefacts, fictions, and fantasies has become too prolific to be contained as a ghost in the corner of the Victorian Studies parlour . . . ” (Kohlke 1). Similarly, Literature Interpretation Theory issued a special number of neo -Victorian study, with an introduction titled “Engaging the Victorians,” in 2009. There, Rebecca Munford and Paul Young assert that the Victorian characteristics have been already established as a “consensus” (4). Neo -Victorianism itself is required to re -estimate the past (Munford and Young 4) be yond the boundaries established by the development of twentieth -century Victorian studies. In 2010, three studies headed “neo -Victorian” were published in succession: Louisa Hadle y’s Neo-Victorian Fiction and Historical Narrative, Kate Mitchell’s History and Cultural Memory in Neo -Victorian Fiction, and Ann Heilmann and Mark Llewell yn’s Neo-Victorianism. This.

(18) 13. trend is driven by a desire to solve the problem why Victorian culture is continued to be looked back on and reproduc ed in the modern context. The neo-Victorian writing alwa ys incorporates a huge amount of cultural, literary and theoretical resources from the nineteenth century onwards, so we can rationally and intelligently surve y the general outline of the history in t he writings. These critics all seem to feel that they no longer have a distorted way of thinking about the Victorian past such as modernists and postmodernists had done. These studies are grounded on the premise that we can acknowledge our present position through an awareness of the past by reading these novels. While these critics cited above discuss neo -Victorianism and its significance for the present authors and readers , the occult and spiritualism are highlighted in Haunting and Spectrality in Neo -Victorian Fiction: Possessing the Past , a collection of essa ys edited by Rosa rio Arias and Patricia Pulham (2010). The editors suggest that the Victorian engagement with spectral ideas and items inform ambiguit y of di vision between the past and the present. It should be noted that there has been no leading discussion about neo-Victorian fiction in terms of orality and writing. The trust that we implicitly place on a text is always problematic in most of these nov els because one of the motives for neo-Victorians is to revise, reproduce, and reconstruct Victorian realism. The radical basis underlying the contemporary texts is that a narrative of history and historical literature is unreliable whether it is a factual document or a fictional narration. In this point, the ambiguousness of orality and the dominant force of fixit y of literacy can be applied in the argument of neo -Victorian fiction..

(19) 14. Many critics of neo -Victorian fiction have attempted to interpret them applying modern literary theories. They prefer to situate their novels in the st yle and concept by means of which twentieth-century critics have interpreted the cultural legac y: postcolonial invasion in the colonial world (in Jack Maggs), homosexual relationships (in Sarah Water ’s novels), a form of trans gender identity (of the protagonist in Misfortune), the disclosure of the history of class and sexual discrimination (in Fanny by Gaslight and In the Red Kitchen ), obsessional neurosis (in the narrative of religious repression and colonial discourse in Oscar and Lucinda ). These novelists design their narratives self-consciousl y in accordance with twentieth-century theories and Victorian styles and conventions. These theoretical contexts have been formed as an academic discipline and evoked as a sort of a st rategy for interpreting the Victorians. Howe ver, there is something be yond the strategy of reading the Victorian legac y through modern theories in the neo-Victorian novels focused on in the dissertation. The echoes of oral popular culture such as street ba llads and the novelists’ instinctive, ingrained desire for writing will provide a site on which the constructed system of modern interpretations is underlined.. Postc olonialism Lé vi -Strauss’s tra vels and his anthropological studies gave an impact on postcolonialists such as Homi Bhabha and Ga yatri Chakravort y Spivak. Their works manage to override the typical images of and the notions about colonial countries established by imperialists and.

(20) 15. colonialists in Europe by offering a language for decolonising th e conquered people. Particularl y, Bhabha’s concept of an in -between border of cultures is worth discussing. To explain “the articulation of cultural differences” (2), he refers to “new ness” (10), which is on the border of culture. He suggests that the bord er between two cultures “renews the past, refiguring it as a contingent ‘in -between’ space, that innovates and interrupts the performance of the present” (10). The place produces “hybridit y” of two different cultures. For neo -Victorianism, the other culture is the past, the Victorian era. Bhabha’s postcolonial notion of hybridit y has an influence on a number of neo -Victorian novels. There is a lot of neo -Victorian fiction composed from the postcolonial viewpoints. Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), one of the earlier neo -Victorian novels, replaces Bertha Mason in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre with Antoinette Coswa y, set in the background of political, social and cultural incompatibility between England and the Caribbean. The novel reveals that Antoinette, a Creole woman, is replaced in the position of a wife of an English gentleman, by an Engl ish woman, Jane Eyre. In Jane’s narrative, Bertha loses her faculty of spe ech like a monkey with black skin (Tomiyama 190 -94). 6. Rhys’s novel gi ves. her own voice, whi ch is suppressed by Jane, to her in order to demonstrate how her inner self has been formed from her childhood in her native country as a Creole woman. As Bertha’s wild voice and its rewriting in Wide Sargasso Sea associate neo-Victorianism with postcoloni alism, the problem of oralit y and literacy has also been argued in the political and cultural conflict.

(21) 16. between the West and others in historical studies. For instance, Don ald F. McKenzie analyses how the treaty of Waitangi written in English, which was si gned in 1840 in New Zealand, was different from the Maori version for the native inhabitants. Before reading and writing were taught in the 1830s and printing was brought in 1840 by Europeans, the y had been completely illiterate (McKenzie 1 63). They applied English spellings to the sounds of their oral words and enacted the Maori version of the treaty. As Mc Kenzie states, the treaty was recognised by “the status of oral culture and spoken consensus” for the Maori (189): “the treaty in Maori is a sacred coven ant, . . . above the law, whereas the English version distorts its effect and remains caught in the mesh of documentary history and juridical process” because it has the spirit formed by their own oral words (189). For the Maori, while oral words demonstra te their own spirit, literacy and printing are in the unknown world of “a social and political document of power and purpose” (McKenzie 190). In New Zealand, orality was deepl y rooted in the nation’s culture, yet literacy was strange to the people. As Edward Said observes, when one writes history, the writer cannot help forming it from one side, the side which has power. 7. The. Eastern culture has been prejudiced by the West partl y because of the ruling power of historical and fictional volumes written by Eu ropeans. Making historical accounts by writ ing, one alwa ys confronts this problem of the dominant p ower in the world of literacy. European literacy has established control over the indigenous languages, which have been spoken in other areas. In using postc olonial terms, the power of literac y.

(22) 17. enables one to intrude upon the inside of the other and assimilate a minority culture into oneself. Compared with it, orality is fragile because it is rooted and settled in the inside of a culture. The dissertation will argue how orality and the physical act of writing cripple the power of literacy.. The Framew or k of the Dissertation The dissertation will explore these issues focusing on four topics: firstl y, orality, literacy and writing in the Victorian culture through discussions of Charles Dickens’s novels: secondl y, the modern recognition of putting voices into writing and of the act of writing in two neo-Victorian novels inspired by Dickens’s life and work; thirdly, ora lity embedded in the modern colonial worlds in two neo-Victorian novels derived from Great Expectations; and the regeneration of orality in England in neo -Victorian novels with Victorian backgrounds. The first chapter focuses on the novels of Charles Dickens that present the problems of orality, litera cy and writing in fictional works. The earlier novels, The Pickwick Papers , Oliver Twist, and Master Humphrey’s Clock reflect the nineteenth -century change of the mainstream mass culture from oralit y to literacy. Drawing on Steven Marcus’s argument on Dick ens, who managed to record voices and speech in his works, 8 Ivan Kreilkamp admires Dickens’s technique of introducing voices into his novel : “ The Pickwick Papers inaugurated the phonographic history of Victorian fiction in a vocal explosion that presents i tself as an escape from an oppressive print history” (77). The.

(23) 18. fictional purpose in the novel is to collect outdated folklore and tales, which have been handed down in the provinces in England. The nostalgic taste of storytelling in the countryside and a s atire on scientific documentation of the gentlemen’s club get intertwined in the novel and in another work, Master Humphrey’s Clock . Dickens’s concern with the cultural change from oral communication to the dominance of literacy will be discussed focusing on Oliver Twist . Set in the cultural background of domination of literacy, Oliver struggles over the fixity of his identity determined by others. Most of them are represented as writers of his life, providing him with written materials. Texts such as magaz ines, newspapers, and letters become external causes that form his identit y regardless of his intention. On the contrary, ballads, reading aloud, and physical acts of writing seem to be represented in Dickens’s works to create a distance from the dominance of literacy. Chapter Two will argue how Dickens’s anxiety about the cultural supremacy of literacy and his creation of physical acts of writing which disrupts the fixity of written words are transformed into the modern environment in Frederick Busch’s The Mutual Friend (1978) and Sue Rue’s Estella: Her Expectations (1982). The Mutual Friend , fictionalising Dickens’s reading tours in his last years, attempts to express some unexpected voices that have been excluded from Dickens’s texts. These animated voic es expose the haughty and arrogant behaviour of Dickens and reveal that he is not “the spirit of household and hearthside” (62) at all. Because the main narrator, George Dolby, dictates other voices to a.

(24) 19. non-Western ward orderl y called Moon, the characters ’ voices are given an air of orientalism by the narrator although they are all Victorians. The novel brings oral words into the colonial world, separated from Dickens’s England. Furthermore, the Victorian anxiety about written words is reflected in the modern novel’s anxiety about writing voices on papers. In the modern fiction, writing is an act of stealing other ’s inwards and allowing any deviation from truth. In Estella as well, writing a plot is problematic. There, using haiku, a Japanese character enco urages the modern Estella to write the story of Miss Ha visham, who is imprisoned in the world of the past created by Di ckens . Dickens’s recognition of oral culture as a legacy of old English culture is restructured in the colonial worlds in Peter Care y’s Jack Maggs (1997) and Lloyd Jones’s Mister Pip (2007). The third chapter will treat these two neo-Victorian novels set in the former colonies, Australia and New Zealand. For them, the sound of oral communication is echoed in the foreign countries in contra st to the world of literacy in England. Being conscious of the fundamental difference between vocal and printed words, they challenge the premise that a past story has been completed and immured in a canonical book and can no longer be changed. The bildungsroman of a convict from Australia, Magwitch, otherwise Jack Maggs, is incarnated by an English writer, Oates, in Jack Maggs and Mr Dickens remains a barefoot white man for a girl of a local island even after she has undertaken an academic study of Dickens ’s novels in England in Mister Pip. These writers try to continue narratives derived from Great Expectations established by Dickens as well as from the pages.

(25) 20. of the book, that is, confined spaces within printed words. Exploiting orality in the colonial cou ntries, these neo -Victorian works reveal cracks when they are compared to the apparently fixed surface of Victorian fiction. The last chapter focuses on Wesley Stace’s Misfortune (2005) and its representation of ballads. A ballad was “the earliest form of popular literature . . . as part -song, part -text” and created a space where “any clear boundaries between oral and literate culture would have been blurred” (Barry 82). This chapter will explain the history of ballads as a part of oral culture and examine how the y are retained and are regenerated consciously in neo -Vic torian fiction. In Misfortune unlike in Jack Maggs and Mister Pip, the material of oral culture is represented in England after the main character ’s conflicts, which have been experienced home and abroad. The use of ballads in literary works seems to make orality and literacy, colonised nations and England, and the Victorian past and the present , coexist. In the Victorian period, Dickens managed to use an oral aspect of the language, to focus o n the physical act of writing, and finally to communicate with his reader s through his voice in his reading tours. Those manoeuvres in Dickens’s novels result from a fear for the fixity and closure of identity written by words. The spaces opened by orality of ballads and reading aloud and by physical acts of writing in his novels enable him to escape from that fixit y and closure. Dickens’s energy shown in writing and reading aloud has been inherited by writers of neo-Victorian fiction . The neo-Victorian novels reflect postmodern.

(26) 21. notions on one hand and try to disrupt their logical structure on the other. In order to avoid conforming to the established logical structure, the writers go on renewing and creating a fictional world that is beyond written texts. T he vocal activity of reading aloud and the use of ballads in these novels make the modern writers aware of oral words uttered from one’s body. The description of orality in neo -Victorian fiction emerges as a wa y for us to recognise new possibilities of ora lity. The dissertation aims to show the themes and concerns that link orality with writing in the novels written by Dickens and the neo -Victorians..

(27) 22. Chapter 1 Victorian Oral Culture and Writing in the Novels of Charles Dickens. Charles Dickens was famili ar with nursery rhyme in his childhood and was absorbed in public reading in his later life. While he was engaged in the business of writing as an author and an editor, he had been associated directly with oral words through voices of singing and reading. In Charles Dickens and His Performing Selves , Malcolm Andrew states that the serial publication of the novel, which was started by Dickens ’s The Pickwick Papers , had been a means of establishing relationships with individuals who received his fiction as re aders or listeners; and then serialisation of novels was to be substituted by direct communication with the audience of his public readings (18-25). Dickens sought for wa ys of communicating with others by writ ing his novels in monthly and wee kl y instalments and reading aloud in halls and theatres throughout his life. In the Victorian period, according to Harry Stone, “the ancient heritage of English children, ” that is, the materials of traditional culture such as folklore, fairy tales, and superstitions, had disappeared because of the Puritan spirit which lived in “an ordered and prosing rationalism ” (18). Stone continues to state that, after the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when ballads, almanacs and broadsides were published in booklets and broads heets, chapbooks of cheap popular literature had brought the tastes for imaginative fiction which were to be composed in.

(28) 23. the nineteenth century: “adventure stories, didactic works, bible tales, criminal histories, jest books, pornographic works, prophecies , sensation stories, and curiosities ” (21-22). While the middle -class respectable taste required the moral and rational textbook in a well -organized written structure, materials invoking fanciful imagination could be found in cheap books in popular culture . Drawing on the background of popular literature, this chapter will discuss how these materials from oral culture are represented in the world of literacy in Dickens ’s fiction. The first section will analyse the wa ys how Oliver Twist resists the domination of written materials attested by the increasing number of books and magazines in popular culture. The next part of the chapter will demonstrate how voices of reading books aloud and singing ballads evoke in the readers and listeners a nostalgia for Englishness. The representations of reading circles and the inserted pieces of ballads in The Pickwick Papers, Master Humphrey ’s Clock, Bleak House and Great Expectations will be analysed, in contrast to the representations of the public and official world of b usiness. Finall y, t he chapter will examine the physical acts of writing that are practiced to avoid confinement in printed words and written texts in Bleak House .. 1-1: The Domination of Literac y in the Nineteenth Century Oliver Twist is concerned with th e mass market of literature in the 1830s and 1840s. In Dickens’s Villains, Juliet John identifies the novel as a site, in which Dickens analyses “ the possibility for emotion, pleasure and also drama as democratic vehicles of communication which would.

(29) 24. prevent the divorce of intellectual from mass culture ” (136). The “illegitimate ” mode of low and popular culture, which was alienated by the middle-class taste, had entered into the space of the “legitimate” culture. The novel is linked to the problem of the more complex engagement with morality and illegitimac y in popular literature. Drawing on the case of a murderer, whose madness in his crime was analysed by Foucault, 9 Brantlinger claims that committing crimes and “inscribing them in legible text for a literate audience” are connected with each other intimately (81). According to him, the novel itself “can lead a double life by pla ying both roles in a cultural game of cops and robbers, crime and punishment ” (82). Indeed, Oliver is torn between “ double” discourses in the novel. He is forced to follow by Fa gin the typic al life of a criminal boy, whose stories had been made familiar to the people due to the increase of chapbooks and newspapers. At the same time, he is identified as a middle -class boy by Mr Brownlow and Rose. The novel involves a dilemma in allowing both legitimate authority and criminality to coexist (Brantlinger 81). The gap between respectable and humble tastes was bridged through Dickens ’s works. Ironically, Dickens ’s anxiety seems to arise fro m this success because the greater popularity of printed texts might have assimilated and eliminated oral materials, which have invoked people ’s fanc y. Oliver Twist is the novel about materials related to literacy. 1 0 They demand a target to be written about and to be enclosed in papers. That target is the protagonist, Oliver Twist. It begins with the author ’s consciousness that he is to write “memoirs” or “biography” (17) of the.

(30) 25. protagonist and ends with the responsibility of the “historian” who tells “the fortunes of those who ha ve fi gured in this tale ” (357). The whole life of Oliver is moved from one plot to another by the author ’s and his biographers’ will. Robert Tracy states that “Oliver ’s true destiny is to be the subject of a written story, to be scri pted” (24). According to J. Hil l is Miller, “there is no escape ” for Oliver in the novel ( Charles Dickens 42). Steven Connor, in a paper entitled “‘They’re All in One Story’,” also argues that Oliver “will be enfolded by narratives not his own ” because he “is prevented from telling what he knows of his own history ” (7). It is striking that the state of confinement is not only caused by the writers ’ will of narrating his life, but also is brought about by written materials. In fact, his life is always beset w ith printed statements, books, and magazines that are offered to him by the writers. From the beginning of his life, Oliver is believed by the white-waistcoated gentleman in the workhouse that he will “be hung” (29) because he has “asked for more ” foods audaciously in the work house. A bill is pasted up on the outside of the workhouse gate, offering “a reward of five pounds to anybody who would take Oliver Twist off the hands of the parish” (27). The bill, in which the gentleman reads the destiny of his death by hanging, becomes a text which drives his life forward. The narrator, on the contrary, responds to this scribbler of Oliver ’s criminal life, saying that he will continue to write without hinting “whether the life of Oliver Twist [has] this violent te rmination or no ”: he wishes to “show in the sequel whether the white -waistcoated gentleman was right or not” (29). Instead of following the gentleman ’s tale, Oliver is dragged.

(31) 26. into the narrator ’s narrative. Mr Bumble is also a narrator, who identifies Oli ver as an illegitimate child of a disgraceful and loose mother. He can control the child’s story at will in the meeting with Mr Brownlow. While he has told Oliver ’s life as a villain to Mr Brownlow first, “he might ha ve imparted a very different colouring to his little history” of Oli ver (124) if he had known that Mr Brownlow expects to know that Oliver is a good boy. Oliver is forced to be confined within a small space by Mr Bumble because the narrator and Mr Bumble have shut him in a stereotyped st ory of an orphan. Howe ver, in his confinement, he “draws himself closer and closer to the wall” (29) . It is only in this solitary confinement that he can retain his identity without being m anipulated by others. The plot about his life and his retreat into a solit ary space are repeated a few times throughout the novel. He enters the solitary state of confinement in the scene where his destiny leads him to a different course of life, p articularly just when a writer of his life is replaced with another. For instance, when he would have died by hunger and fatigue, Fagin saves him from his narrator ’s pen, which has been trying to bring him to his death. The villain, however, tries to make him a criminal. The “drowsy state,” into which Oliver falls unconsciousl y, can be regarded as a momentary escape from the plot of Fa gin. Because in that state he “[spurns] time and space ” and “the restraint of its corporeal associate ” (66), it is a sort of resistanc e against the writers, who try to define his identity. Hill is Miller poi nts out that if there is an “active volition in Oliver, ” it is his resistance to “all the.

(32) 27. attempts of the world to crush him or bury him or make him into a thief ” (42). His resistance is to be in the state, in which “he loses conscious altogether” (H Miller 47). In the state, he is released from all restrictions around him, so the solitary space offers him a haven from a storm of printed texts and writers of his life. The world of Fagin is surrounded by reading material such as newspapers and criminal recor ds. From the eighteenth century until the 1830s, “the widening demand for reading material was accompanied by a profound revolution in print technology, ” and “cheap literature flooded the market ” and newspapers “became more accessible and plentiful ” for “the reproduction of knowledge ” (K Williams 76). For Fa gin and his friends, newspapers are sources of useful information. He learns the failure of burglary by Sikes and Ol iver not from his gang but from a newspaper (170). Sikes gains the information of Fa gin ’s capture from “to-night’s paper” (336). In the 1830s, “the daily newspaper became more prevalent,” and particularly weekl y newspapers published on Sunda ys, whose features were “blood, gore and crime . . . were most popular newspapers, catering for a mass working-class readership ” (K Williams 83-84). Although the dates when Fagin and Sikes read them are not clearly indicated, they must have read these kinds of newspapers. Furthermore, Fa gin is “deeply absorbed in the interesting pages of the Hue -and -Cry” (106) and gives a lecture “on the crying sin of ingratitude ” (125), which might appear in the magazine. The book, which Oliver is gi ven to read in order to make him a criminal, also treats “dreadful crimes” (140). The book could be The Newgate Calendar..

(33) 28. The flood of literacy brought the domination of written words over oral popular culture in the Victorian era. In Henry Ma yhew ’s London Labour and the London Poor , some of the stories sold by street sellers centre on bloody crime. The outlines are heard by the audience on the street. Stories from “street literature, ” collected by Charles Hidle y in 1871, are all murderers ’ biographies from their birth up to the time of execution. For instance, one of them is entitled, “The Life & Execution of Sir John Old Castl e at the New Gallows. ” This story, printed in a standard format on a broadside sheet, would be sold by street-sellers of literature, who cried its price and sang its lines briefly. Ma yhew reported that the street literature on crime and murder was read even by some va grants: Respecting their education, according to the popular meaning of the term, 63 of the 150 were able to read and write, and the y were principally thieves. Fift y of t his number said they had read “Jack Sheppard,” and the lives of Dick Turpin, Claude du Val, and all the other popular thieves’ novels, as well as the “Newgate Calendar” and “Li ves of the Robbers and Pirates.” Those who could not read themselves, said they’d had “Jack Sheppard” read to them at the lodging -houses. Numbers avowed that they had been induced to resort to an abandoned course of life from reading the lives of notorious thieves, and novels about highwa y robbers . (419) The description of Fa gin ’s books c onforms to Ma yhew ’s reports. The novel integrates some of the elements of the Newgate Novel, which was a “sophisticated and developed version of the execution.

(34) 29. broadside,” as Tracy notes (18). The contents of broadsides, where criminal news and ballads were printed, were transmitted to the audience by voices on the street. They ori ginally belonged to traditional oral culture. Juliet John demonstrates that in the 1830s street popular narrative printed on broadsides was graduall y absorbed into “the bourgeois Victorian novel ” by the spread of readership of the Newgate story (128). Popular but immoral traditional literature, which had stemmed from street broadsides, was transformed into “respectable ” writing with a middle -class sense of value through Dickens and other Victorian writers. The moment, when Oliver meets Mr Brownlow, is also important for this history of literature. Fagin permits him to go out with Bates and Dodger as part of the lessons of pickpocketing. Although Oli ver knows nothing about their purpose of walking around the street, he witnesses the scene where they draw a handkerchief from an old gentleman’s pocket. In front of the bookstall, Mr Brownlow, “a very respectable -looking personage,” is “reading away, as hard as if he were in his elbow -chair, in his own study” (73). The street can gi ve him the environment similar to “his own study” because he can read a book “with the greatest interest and eagerness” there (73). Symbolically, his reading figure shows that the distinction between the mean street and the sophisticated sphere of the middle-class gentleman ’s study around is actually blurred . Oliver fails to run away from the spot with Dodger and Bates, who lead a throng of people, shouting “Stop thief!” and chasing him as a pickpocket. The excitement of the heat can been seen as being generated.

(35) 30. b y the clash of t he world of the Newgate Novel with the middle -class reading represented by Mr Brownl ow. It is caused by the people on the street as well as Dodger and Bates, who could easily be in the Newgate Calendar. Oliver is innocent and rather looks like a son of a gentleman than a lower-class villain. Nevertheless, on one hand, Dodger and Bates have thrown him into the world of criminal stories. On the other hand, the people try to chase him as a criminal. The seemingly middle -class boy is thrust into a lower-class story by t he people on the street. This scene can be interpreted as representing the transition of street and popular literature from vulgarit y to sophistication and also from a traditional oral narrative to the form of a book. Oliver can be considered as s tanding at the crisis of the decline of traditional oral literature. The people’s interest in entertainment had gradually changed from oral culture to a “respectable” literary material. Drawing on the background in the midst of a n increase of readership, Kathryn Chittick comments that Dickens “[entered] the literary stakes as a humourist, and his humour put him in his literary place – the genre of ‘entertainment’” (61). However, in Oliver Twist, the description of the dreadful group of people reflects a fea r for the domination of “the literary stakes. ” The fear is represented by a crisis in Oliver ’s identit y, which is defined by and fixed on texts. His identit y is determined not only by the rabble on the street but also by “sophisticated” people. Oliver is t aken care of by Mr Brownlow, but he is recaptured by Sikes and Nanc y when he goes out on an errand and is returned to Fagin’s den. At this time, he is forced by Sikes to.

(36) 31. commit a burglary in the house of the Malies. He is shot when one of the inhabitants witnesses them, yet they sa ve him and take him into the house. Here, the history of his earlier life is investigated by Mr Losberne. He tries to find out how Oliver is involved in the robbery. David Miller declares that Mr Losberne pla ys the role of the pol ice in the middle -class community (577 -78). As a detective police officer, he accumulates pieces of evidences that Oliver ’s origin can be traced not to a villain’s den but to a middle-class home. Again, his life -story is rewritten by someone other than himself. He is forced by the “police” to identify himself with the middle class. His final “drowsy state” comes to him in the house of the middle-class family as if he were trying to escape from his forced identit y. It is striking that it comes during the time of his reading. When “he had been poring over [the books] for some time, . . . he fell asleep ” (230). Emerging unconsciousl y from the world surrounded with books in Rose ’s house, he notices that Fa gin and Monks have been looking at him. The y might have been watching for a chance to turn him into a criminal. He recognises them “as if it had been deeply carved in stone, and set before him from his birth ” (231). Even in dream, he cannot move at all. The middle-class home of the Malies and Fa gin ’s den make hi m absorbed into his fabricated identities. Fa gin and Monks manipulate him to be one of their followers as in an article of the Newgate Calendar while the middle-class people attempt to form his life as a respectable child by making him read books. As Hillis Miller comments, Oliver “can only submit passivel y to a.

(37) 32. succession of present moments ” even in his secure world (77). His passivit y can be seen in the fact that he is beset with printed texts such as books, newspapers, and magazines. In Mr Fang ’s office, where Oliver is arrested as a pickpocket, for instance, he is saved from being condemned as a criminal by a book -stall keeper. He testifies to his innocence (80). The book-stall keeper symbolizes the chang ing state of his life; Oliver is being transferred from the criminal world to middle-class respectabilit y. Mr Brownlow releases him from Fa gin ’s plot, in which he is trying to fix the boy’s identity as one of the gang, and leads him to his own world. It is a world of books. In Mr Brownlow ’s study, Oliver “[marvels] where the people could be found to read such a great number of books as seemed to be written to make the world wiser ” (97). In order to “make him wiser,” he is allowed to read them only under the condition that he “[behaves] well” (97). In the Victorian era, it was almost impossible for a child, who was born and brought up under unfavourable conditions in his childhood like Oliver, to learn how to read and write. Mr Brownlow, ne vertheless, encourages him to read books without bothering about his literacy. The gentleman is eventually to pla y the role of “[filling] the mind of his adopted child with stores of knowledge ” (359) from a great deal of his books in the end of the novel. Oliver is forced to accept the identity as a literate child “passivel y.” John Ba yle y claims that “the world of the novel may be a prison but [Oliver, Bates and Nancy] are not finally enclosed in it ” (53). However, at least for Oliver, the repetition of an unconscious state is an endless game of chasing; he is alwa ys running from his biographers, who.

(38) 33. are trying to enclose him in printed texts. At the beginning of his life, he has been already determined by his own father to lead a certain way of life. The paternal judgement passed on him leads him to the end of the novel. In his dream, in which there are Fagin and Monks, it is re vealed that the “story” of his father and mother is written on “the papers,” which Monks keeps (343). In one of the letters, his father entreats his mother not to “think the consequences of their sin w ould be visited on her or their young child” (343). He repeats this “in the same words, over and over again, as if he had gone distracted ” (343). His desperate words, in whi ch he endeavours to keep his sin away from his son, might have created Oliver ’s innocent face. Although Dodger and Bates have been brought up in a similarly wretched environment, his face can be distinguished from theirs due to the trace of his father ’s writing. It has inscribed him with an identity as a middle -class boy. Oliver is unconsciousl y caught up in the current of the period when popular literature was being “sophisticated” (that is, violent, sexual and bloody scenes are being removed from it) and spreading among people of all ranks in England. His identity is constructed by rea ding books in a middle-class home and criminal biographies in a thief ’s den. However, throughout the novel, the environments, into which he is thrown by his biographers, are ceaselessly changing from one to another. The rise of popular literature causes uneasiness and restlessness in his identity. It may be said to be the result brought about by the nature of written and printed words. They fix his identity on pa ges. Indeed, Fa gin is destined to be drawn in a criminal magazine as a.

(39) 34. condemned murderer. When he is sentenced to be hung, he is conscious of his own image to be inserted in a newspaper or a magazine: There was one young man sketching his face in a little note-book. He wondered whether it was like, and looked on when the artist broke his pencil -point, and made another with his knife . . . . (351) The artist might be a young writer, Dickens, himself; he did not actually draw Fa gin’s portrait, but he could write his appearance in a sketch of words to be included in his collection of literary sketches. 1 1. Reading. many criminal reports and newspapers during his life, Fa gin knows how he is destined after his execution. He is to be featured in The Newgate Calendar and newspapers as a criminal protagonist. It is a matter of course that Dickens as a professional writer is immersed in the world of words, but in his writing where written texts undermine one ’s identity, uneasiness is inevitably aroused about the cultural shift into a society that overemphasizes literacy.. 1-2: Reciprocal Communication and Nostal gia for Old England in Orality While his novels evince the anxiety for the domination of literacy, Dickens brings the force of pieces of popular culture created by voices into play to criticise exclusive reliance on rationalism and order in documents. In t he nineteenth century, the pre -literate type of oral materials was disappearing from the scene of popular culture. 1 2. In. their place , the custom of solitary reading, especially of novels had taken root. The following argument in this chapter will show that Dickens is.

(40) 35. aware of the lack of reciprocal communication in the relationship between the reader and the audience, when books are read not aloud in a family circle but silently in a private room. A community i s not required by one who reads books silently and alone in his/her library or a compartment on a train. On the other hand, since old days, people enjoyed list ening to minstrels, ballad singers, and street “patterers,” forming a community, which consists of authors as well as listeners. In “ Leisure and Sociability: Reading Aloud in Earl y Modern Europe,” Roger Chartier, collecting various records of reading aloud in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Western Europe, discusses how “reading can itself create a social bond, unite people around a boo k, foster convivial social relations, on the condition that it be neither solitary nor silent ” (104). For insta nce, one of his collections is Samuel Pepys’s records during his journe y from Cambridge to London in 1668: Pepys wrote that “in the midst of the uncertainties of travel, [the reading group] could foster a temporary bond among fellow travellers” (110). The bond, which had been formed by a reading community in the seventeenth century, still existed in a reading circle as group of people gathered around a person, who read aloud, in the nineteenth century. In “Texts, Printing, Readings ,” Chartier shows that “popular editions of fairy tales by borrowing from folkl oric traditions ” are forms which unit e spoken with printed words (160). According to him, t he nineteenth-century custom of reading popular books aloud carried on “the return of multiple texts into oral forms, where they are destined to be read aloud” (160). Because they were usually transmitted by reading aloud,.

(41) 36. “the rudimentary reader ” could take part in reading books in the same environment as the listeners had enjoyed listening to storytelling, forming a “social bond” in the traditional oral culture (160). 1 3 It is this environment of reciprocity that Dickens attempted to create in The Pickwick Papers. In Other Dickens, John Bowen claims that the friendship between Mr Pickwick and Sam Weller and the relationship between Sam and his father can be extended to a potentially “much wider imagined community, between Dickens, his readers, and character s” (61). He continues to state that the friendship is established for Dickens by writing and for his readers by reading and the communication between them dissolves in the end of the novel (62). The bond between Dickens and his readers is fragile and exist s onl y in his imagination. Mr Pickwick’s dut y as a member of the Pickwick Club is to collect folklore and tales in the countryside. It is seemingl y intended to recover the communal bond because folkloric traditions recall them to the traditional form of reading circles. However, the traditional community is replaced by the gentlemanly association of the club. It imitates the societies of gentlemen with an objective for collecting folklore and traditional ballads, which were in fashion then. They placed reli ance on such scientific activities as they re searched and put together records in documents, yet the novel attempts to avoid such reliance on academic records. Leslie Simon argues that the novel “operates structurally as a n archive, revealing the discovery of scientific objects and literary manuscripts alike, blurring the line between things that record objective and those that record subjective histories ” (24). In the wa y similar to.

(42) 37. blurring the boundary between scientific treatises and fictional works, th e scientific statement in the association cannot keep its objectivit y in the novel for a couple of reasons . First, the Transaction of the Pickwick Club is a satire aimed at the belief in the reliability of documents because the reports, which are recorded by the members, have “no official statement of the facts ” (20). Records of scientific transactions lack the proper form of an academic statement. Second, Mr Pickwick, the headman of the club, often fails to record tales and anecdotes, which he has listene d to, on his note -book. Instead his companion, Mr Snodgrass, makes a list of tales and episodes for the club’s collection. Mr Pickwick always departs from the standard of making a scientific collection. In the chapter of Dismal Jemmy ’s tale, for instance, he and his followers are enjoying listening to his tale with friendly companions. Dr Slammer, who has wrongl y challenged Mr Winkle to a duel in the previous chapter, enters the room vigorousl y to interrupt this “warm” and “harmonic” circle; though “the highest gratification” for a member of the club would have been to “record Mr. Pickwick’s opinion of the foregoing anecdote ,” Mr Snodgrass has to pass it over due to the interrupter (55 -58). In this scene, there are two remarkable things which orality and literacy are related to. The first is that the community of storytelling is broken due to the development of the episode of Dr Slammer and Mr Winkle. Another is that the faith in the “scientific” records of the Pickwick Club is shaken because Mr Pickwick can not advance his opinion. On one hand, the reliance on science is satirised. On the other hand, the.

(43) 38. work reveals that it is difficult that the “harmonic” community, which is created by a voice, is maintained as opposed to the strength of printed words. Collecting folklore evoked nostalgia in Victorian gentlemen. Andrew Sanders, who discusses England of The Pickwick Papers , observes that the world of the novel is “passing” and “loosing” in “a new and differently structured England ” (125). This newly “structured” England has partially come into being with the rise of readership and an increasing number of literary entertainments during the nineteenth century. Printed words enable us to preserve and accumulate our knowledge on papers and provide us with the means of considering things structurally and accumulativel y. The more people acquire literacy, the more they are inclined to demand that things are “structured.” As a result, the “structured” England makes the “loose” values of old England lessen. Ironically, while the Pickwick Club embodies this “structured” England, Mr Pickwick feels nostalgia for the culture that is “passing” awa y and for the close -knit community created by storytelling. Master Humphrey ’s Clock inherits the nostalgia for the reading communit y. Elizabeth Palmberg claims that the use of the clock of the old man gives it a sense of the past as “saleable nostalgia ” (25). The magazine reproduces a traditional communit y. In it, one can have a communal experience of enjoying a necdotes together with others. Here, it conforms to the Victorian domestic situation and is actualised in Master Humphre y’s retrospection on his younger da ys: When m y fire is bright and high, a nd a warm blush mantles in.

(44) 39. the walls and ceiling of this ancient room; when my clock makes cheerful music, like one of those chirping insects who delight in the warm hearth, and are sometimes, by a good superstition, looked upon as the harbingers of fortune and plenty to that household in whose mercies they put their humble trust; when ever ything is in a ruddy genial glow, and there are voices in the crackling flame, and smiles in its flashing light, other smiles and other voices congregate around me, invading, with their pleasant harmony, the silence of the time. (112) In Dear Reader, Garrett Stewart defines “the location of the Clock ” as “the very space of storytelling ,” but the space is “everywhere and nowhere” because little information is gi ven about where the shop is and who the members of the reading group are (206). The problem here i s not onl y the absence of the members but also that the community of Master Humphre y is punctuated only by the presence of “the deaf gentleman.” 1 4 It means that the audience is expected to read printed papers silently instead of listening to vocal narrativ es in spite of Master Humphre y’s longing for the traditional space in front of his clock. The scene of the reading community is di srupted by the deaf man. The absence of sound changes the reading circle from a nostalgic representation of old England into a paradox. On the contrary, ballads and rhymes, which are embedded in the text of Bleak House (1852), are employed to reproduce sound and voice in the novel and bring the atmosphere of old England into it for the Victorian readers. It does not denote a newly “structured” England but.

(45) 40. one that is immersed in popular culture, particularly the culture of sound and voice. At the time of publication of the novel, a lot of ballad dealers and street sellers of songs, called “patterers,” were hawking broadsides, songs and news. Ma yhew reports that numerous sellers of literature and stationary are wandering about crying the merits of their commodities. It is interesting that ballads and songs, which are to be sung and read aloud by the people who buy them, have been ac companied by voices of the “patterers”: Ma yhew explains that “to patter, is a slug term, meaning to speak” (213). Ballads and songs presented domestic incidents such as notorious murder cases and the facts and fiction about the Queen and the royal family. For instance, in Ma yhew ’s reportage, there is a chaunter who is working in Li verpool -street. He hawks a piece, asserting that “the Queen was going to sing at the opening of the parliament. ” Because “she changed her mind ” (227), now the chaunter can sell th e sheet. Actually, the story, which is contained in the sheet, is about the lives of poor women. The last phrases of his hawking are striking: “ We are going to send in a copy of werses in letters of gold for a prize. We ’ll let the foreigners know what the real native melodies of England is, and no mistake” (228). Stressing the “native melodies” and using the Queen as a catchphrase, the chaunter ’s ballad raises the awareness about internal affairs in England. Another piece is also one of “the native melodie s.” It is a broadside ballad called Sarah Gale ’s Lament, which was published by Hillat and Martin in 1837. 1 5. Sarah Gale was condemned to exile because she had.

(46) 41. murdered Hannah Brown, with whom her husband was guilt y of bi gamy. In the ballad, she laments her wretched life with her husband before she goes to “the land of Botany Ba y” t o “linger” (3-4) there. She warns all “females,” who are “rich and poor, high and low ” and are living in the nation, that it is difficult for them “to walk in the paths of virtue” (49-53). The subject matters of these ballads, which are sold on the street, range from the story of old Britannia to the contemporary political, royal and criminal affairs, and each ballad is strongl y conscious of national identit y. A ballad-singer, who Ma yhew comes across on the street, says, The ballad . . . may be considered as the native species of poetry of this country. . . . Many of the ancient ballads have been transmitted to the present times, in them the character of the nation displays itself in striking colours. (275) The ballad has been an essential part of English culture from the ancient era to the nineteenth century. It wa s a culture shared by all the people in England, establishing a direct communication between listeners and performers t hrough pattering voices. It is difficult to say that the ballad, which is used in Dickens ’s novels, is a material belonging to t he shared, oral culture because it is included in a printed book. Umberto Eco suggests that “characters migrate” in a context i n which it is possible for one to “migrate . . . from oral tradition to book ” (8). The characters can be transferred from a ballad into a book such as a novel, but in the book they are to become signs which refer to something as every written word does. Fo r instance,.

(47) 42. printed signs can become tangled with each other throughout Bleak House . Hillis Miller, in “Interpretation in Bleak House ,” suggests that the “system of interpretation,” that is a pattern with “a stable centre ” to be interpreted, becomes fictio nal within the circle of signs, referents and metaphors that each character is woven into (49). Such fiction raises “a suspicion that there may be no suc h centre ” (H Miller 49). The novel, therefore, “has a temporal structure without proper origin, present , or end” (H Miller 46). An indeterminable structure is created only by signs, where “each phrase is alienated from itself and made into a sign of some other phrase ” (H Miller 46). The structure cannot be constructed without written and printed signs. However, ballads are represented as a means to disrupt a framework constructed by printed words. In Bleak House , a nursery rhyme and a ballad in the descriptions of Lady Dedlock “migrate” from the traditional material to Dickens ’s book. The words can be signs woven with others in the text. However, the song and the ballad do not always assume the same characteristics as those of printed words. In spite of the migration into the novel, ballads are prevented from entering the labyrinth of signs and referents and from assimilating themselves into literacy. These songs foretell the future of the characters. A lady from a nursery rhyme “migrates” into the description of the rainy scenery of Lincolnshire where Lady Dedlock is the centre: So with the dogs in the kenn el-buildings across the park, who have their restless fits, and whose doleful voices, when the wind has been very obstinate, have even made it known in the.

(48) 43. house itself: up -stairs, down -stairs, and in my lady’s chamber. (77) The last words are quotations from the following nursery rhyme : Goose y goose y gander, Whither shall I wander? Upstairs and downstairs And in m y lady’s chamber. There I met an old man Who wouldn’t sa y his pra yers, So I took him by his left leg And threw him down the stairs. 1 6 The rhyme associat es Lady Leicester Dedlock with the story of Lady Morbury Dedlock , who lived in the reign of King Charles the Firs t. The legend of the old Lady Dedlock is narrated by Mrs Rouncewell . After her death, Lady Morbury De dlock has become a ghost, treading the terrace of the Ghost ’s Walk with a “crippled” leg. She has been lamed in the hip when her husband has seized her by the wrist on the terrace (84). She was born humbl y and had relatives, who are “King Charles’s enemies” (84). She curses the Dedl ocks “after her favourite brother, a young gentleman, was killed in the civil wars (by Sir Morbury’s near kinsman)” (84). The sound of the footsteps on the terrace is, therefore, to be heard “until the pride of this house is humbled ” (84). The present lad y is to avenge the dead lady on her husband. She is to force him out of his social position; he and the Dedlock’s mansion are to be pulled “down” by Honoria’s disgrace as shown in the title of the chapter where he makes his.




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